Former Muncie Police Officer Chase Winkle has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a federal judge for repeatedly assaulting arrest subjects while his father served as the police chief. The sentencing took place in federal court on Wednesday, according to court records. Winkle had previously pleaded guilty in December 2022 to five civil rights charges for assaulting arrestees and six obstruction charges for falsifying reports to cover up his actions, as stated in a Department of Justice news release.
According to prosecutors, Winkle engaged in a pattern of excessive force, including knee strikes, slapping, kicking, and punching, against multiple arrestees over a period of nine months. One incident involved Winkle slamming his knee into the neck of a handcuffed man on the ground and subsequently using a Taser on him due to an insult directed towards Winkle during the arrest. In another incident, Winkle kicked a man in the abdomen and head, rendering him unconscious. Winkle then proceeded to write a false report about the incident.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division expressed that Winkle’s misconduct caused harm to his victims and eroded the police department’s credibility within the community. Clarke emphasized that this guilty plea should serve as a message that neither a badge nor familial connections can shield an officer from facing justice for their wrongdoing.
In a related case, former Muncie Police Officer Jeremy Gibson was also sentenced to 14 months in prison on Wednesday. Gibson pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense for physically assaulting a driver and an obstruction offense for fabricating a false report about the incident, according to court records.